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Training the Mind to Redefine Pain: To Let Your Body Talk to You, You Have to Become a Listener

by Cat McClannan

It takes trauma to create pain. The memory of your trauma, whatever it may have been, will always be a part of your thoughts, it is a part of you. The key to unhook from the emotional trauma and the power of the memories that it evokes, is to allow the memories to be neutral. This means not to drive yourself into a compulsive state of actions. This requires you to train your thoughts and mind through techniques such as meditation and guided imagery/visualization. You can train your mind and your thoughts to the point where no memory can upset you or drive you into compulsive actions. You do not forget the memories or traumas because that is impossible. You allow the memories or traumas be put to rest into your memory banks for whenever they are needed. What you will be able to do is to change your responses, feelings and reactions associated with the memories or traumas.

Training your mind allows you to act as the intelligent human being you truly are, not like a spoiled child. Over time, you will be able to be calm, witnessing with infinite tolerance the experiences, memories and feelings. Then you will be able to move into appropriate action without a trace of disquiet in your mind and thoughts. It is about gaining such command over your thinking process that it serves you constantly in the healing process this human experience allows.

To learn ways to unhook from trauma using meditation and visualization, Pain Connection will be starting a new meditation group. Call for details to sign up.


by Gwenn Herman

The group discussed the four generally accepted stages of grieving in the death and dying process: Denial/ Shock; Anger; Bargaining; and Acceptance; and then how this applies to ongoing chronic pain. In chronic pain there is a grieving process that occurs over time due to the trauma and the changes it created. Denial for chronic pain sufferers is the actual trauma/injury that was done to the body. The disbelief that the body has been affected and has disappointed them. As if to say, "This wasn't supposed to happen to me, this isn't the way that I planned my life." The shock is the intensity of the actual pain that it is not going away and the impact it has on every aspect of the person's daily life. The anger stage is experienced as "Why it is happening to me?" Watching others live their normal lives as they see their own lives halted from the pain. The bargaining stage develops as a defense mechanism to shield the sufferer from the reality of their new situation. The sufferer thinks, instead of doing the usual 10 things I did before the pain, I'll only do five of them." Then the reality hits when they feel intense pain from doing those 5 things when they should have done only 1 or none that day. The realization of life changes that need to be made due to the pain are not fully conceptualized because there is still hope that the pain will disappear. The acceptance stage is realizing that the trauma has changed their physical self and life.

But to stop here, is to accept that the pain will not go away, that there is no cure besides possibly medication. The essential 5th step that I added for chronic pain is: Change/Reinventing Yourself. Once you have accepted that the body just can not do what it used to do, you need to work with it and reassess yourself and your lifestyle. The challenge is to reinvent yourself to who you are now in this body and not live in the past of who you were. Which in itself is a rebirth.


The Cost Containment Research Institute has published a booklet "Top 17 Ways to Cut your Prescription Drug Costs: On Available Free and Low Cost Prescription Medications." There are over 1,400 drugs that are made by 100 manufacturers who have free drug programs. The booklet contains the list of medications and the manufacturers' programs available with their telephone numbers to contact them and the specific requirements. There are special pharmacy discount cards for senior citizens from GlaxcoSmithKline's The Orange Card (888)672-6436, Eli Lilly's Lilly Answers Card (877)795-4559, Novartis' Care Card (866)974-2273, Pfizer's The Share Card (800)717-6005 and Together Rx Card 9800)865-7211. AdvanceRx is the pharmacy card that saves 13%-25% for medications dispensed at a pharmacy and is for any age. The number to call is: 1-800-ADVANCE(238-2623). There is also a patient advocate program called Indigent Patient Services, Inc. at (727)821-7333. There is an initial $25.00 fee to set up the administrative work and then $10.00 for each prescription and refill requested. Send $5.00 to Institute Fulfillment Center, Booklet PD-77, P.O. Box 210, Dallas, PA 18612-0210. Their website is

Pain Connection's Wish List

  • Premises for our center that will be handicapped accessible.
  • Fundraisers and Volunteers to develop events
  • Journalist willing to help with publishing our newsletter

Support Group Dates

April 3
May 1
June 5
Time: 10:30 - Noon, Thursdays
Davis Library, 6400 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda, Maryland

Designated Founders of Pain Connection for Contributions of $100

  • Brenda & Philip Herman
  • Robin & Stuart Sorkin
  • Allan & Sharon Waxman
  • Ellen Weiss & Jon Greenberg
  • Mary Farrell

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